This summer, Sotheby’s will host a major new exhibition Brave New Visions: The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World to tell the story of the pioneering émigré dealers and publishers who revolutionised Britain’s art world. Part of Insiders / Outsiders – a nationwide, year-long festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their indelible contribution to British culture – the exhibition, open from 17 July to 9 August – illustrates the histories and vision of these art world luminaries and highlights their profound influence and impact.
Brave New Visions shows how in bleak post-war London, a group of émigrés who had found sanctuary in Britain in the 1930s re-made their lives and introduced avant-garde European and British artists such as Naum Gabo, Oskar Kokoschka, Kurt Schwitters, Graham Sutherland and Ben Nicholson to the broader public.
Featuring over 40 paintings and sculptures, alongside unique documentary material, the exhibition reveals the story of a displaced community that thrived in an unfamiliar environment, and brings to light the little-explored narrative that binds the founders of what are now some of the best known establishments on the London art scene, including Marlborough Fine Art, Crane Kalman Gallery, Annely Juda Fine Art and Gimpel Fils. Highlights of the exhibition include anti-fascist works by George Grosz and John Heartfield, one of Reg Butler’s studies For the Unknown Political Prisoner, Francis Bacon’s Figure in Sea and work by Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud.